Sporting Kansas City has signed 17-year-old Jaylin Lindsey as a Homegrown Player, the club announced Thursday.
Lindsey will be added to the Sporting Kansas City roster when his MLS contract begins on Jan. 1, 2018. His contract will run through 2021 with an option for 2022.
“During his time in our Academy, Jaylin has demonstrated incredible progress on the field and a very high level of maturity for a player his age,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “He has a good understanding of what it takes to be a professional, and we are excited to provide him with the environment and opportunity to realize his potential as a player.”
“This is an exciting day for me and my family,” Lindsey said. “I want to thank Peter Vermes, Jon Parry, and the entire Sporting Kansas City organization for helping me achieve my goal of becoming a professional soccer player. I plan to work hard and to repay the faith they have shown in me and help this club achieve all of its goals.”
A product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy, Lindsey becomes the third-youngest signing in club history. The defender has featured for the Sporting KC U-16s and U-18s and made more than 25 appearances for the United States U-17 Men’s National Team over the last two years.
Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lindsey joined the Sporting KC Academy in January 2015. He has made more than 30 combined appearances for the U-16s and U-18s, most recently competing for both teams at the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs this summer.
After impressing throughout his first full Academy season with Sporting KC, Lindsey signed an Academy contract with Sporting KC’s USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers on May 6, 2016. A day later, he became the first American player born in 2000 or later to appear in a professional match. Lindsey would feature once more for the Rangers before joining the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in August 2016.
Lindsey has played more than 25 matches for the U.S. U-17s dating back to late 2015. He was named to the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Best XI in May after helping the U.S. to a second-place finish, starting five matches along the backline and tallying one assist. By finishing as runners-up to Mexico, Lindsey and the U.S. U-17s secured their spot in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which runs from Oct. 6-28 in India.
Since July, Lindsey has joined the U.S. U-17s for three training camps as well as the International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in Czech Republic last month, where he played three games and helped the Americans take third place.
Lindsey has been a youth international since 2013, when he joined the U.S. U-14s for the first of five training camps with the team. He was selected to the U.S. U-15s for the first time in December 2014 and solidified his presence on the squad with three additional inclusions the following year, helping the team win the Tournament delle Nazioni in Italy. In late 2015, Lindsey competed in his first U.S. U-17 camp as a 15-year-old, making three appearances at the Nike International Friendlies in Florida.
Upon joining the Sporting KC roster, Lindsey will become the club’s sixth Homegrown Player. He is the third Sporting KC Academy product to sign a Homegrown deal since the start of 2016, following 21-year-old forward Daniel Salloi and 15-year-old Gianluca Busio, who on Aug. 25 became the second-youngest player in MLS history.
Major League Soccer established the Homegrown Player initiative in 2007, allowing teams to promote youth academy players to professional contracts. These players must meet Homegrown Player criteria, including participation in the club’s youth system and residence in the team’s Homegrown territory.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Jaylin Lindsey as a Homegrown Player. Lindsey will be added to the Sporting KC roster when his MLS contract begins on Jan. 1, 2018.
Born: 3/27/00 (17 years old)
Weight: 155 lbs.
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Birthplace: Charlotte, N.C.
Acquired: Signed as Homegrown Player on Sept. 14, 2017
Previous Club: Sporting KC Academy